Japanese couple on trial for starving six of their children

Statue of justice.
Photo: Depositphotos.com
Statue of justice.
Photo: Depositphotos.com

A Japanese couple ln Brabant should be jailed for up to four years for the attempted manslaughter of five of their children, the public prosecution department told judges in Breda on Thursday.

Noriku and Hidufun M, aged 40 and 39, moved to the village of Molenschot near Breda in February 2018 with their seven children, three each from a previous marriage and their new baby.

But by the end of June, the parents were in custody and several children had been hospitalised because they had been systematically starved and beaten. According to the AD, school teachers reported that the children were begging for food from classmates and scavenging for food from bins, the paper said.

The family were picked up while heading for Germany in a minibus after the oldest child, a 12-year-old boy, escaped.

‘He was very thin, in dirty clothes and had a black eye,’ the public prosecution department said in a statement. ‘He said later that he was worried about his brothers and sisters and said he had left the car because he could not stand it with his parents any longer.

All the children are now living with relatives back in Japan.

The parents, who are refusing to testify in each other’s presence, blame each other for the abuse, the AD said.

The woman’s lawyer has said her client, who claims to be a victim of abuse herself, should be exonerated. However, the public prosecutor says both should be convicted of attempted manslaughter because their conduct could have resulted in the death of the children.

‘Children should be safe with their parents, particularly in a completely strange country where they have little social contact apart from their parents,’ the public prosecution department said.

It is unclear from the Dutch media reports why the family was in the Netherlands. However, according to local broadcaster Omroep Brabant, they had little contact with outsiders and reports of ‘strange behaviour’ began circulating in the village soon after they arrived.

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